Charity

Program connects foster youth and caregivers with local businesses; and is a timely boost for Ventura County economy

At a time when the aftereffects of the Thomas Fire are likely to prolong the region’s economic recovery, a new program from Foster VC Kids offers multiple benefits to the community. Businesses With Heart was developed to offer discounts on extracurricular activities, restaurants, haircuts, automotive repairs, family photography, goods and other services for foster youth and their caregivers, and to build deeper connections within the community.

With nearly 35 local businesses already participating, Businesses With Heart partners are benefitting from their alignment with Foster VC Kids; corporate partner Chipotle Mexican Grill has hosted three job fairs and hired more than 10 foster youth in restaurants, Rest for Less donated 16 new beds to foster families, some of whom were affected by the Thomas Fire, and other businesses have seen increased foot traffic, cross-promotions on social media and community recognition for their support of foster children, youth and families. Businesses With Heart information is available at www.fostervckids.org/bwh.

In Ventura County there are nearly 900 children and teens in need of a safe, stable and loving home environment – especially in the cities of Oxnard and Ventura. These children are waiting for a foster home with resource parents who will make either a short-term or long-term commitment, providing guidance and hope to help them thrive while separated from their families of origin.

Foster VC Kids provides extensive training and support to ensure caregivers have the resources to nurture, protect and care for local youth in need. According to a recent study by UC Davis, 52% of respondents cited financial concerns as a barrier to becoming a caregiver. Businesses With Heart seeks to reduce some of the perceived financial barriers by enhancing the network of support. The program also connects our community with foster youth and helps build a deeper understanding/awareness of what it means to be a child in care. Angelina McCormick-Soll, Program Coordinator for Foster VC Kids says, “Businesses with Heart is a great opportunity for caring businesses to show local foster youth that we all want to help them thrive at home, in school, at work and in our community.”

About Foster VC Kids, a program of Ventura County’s Children and Family Services

Recognized as a best practices leader statewide in the family recruitment and support component of child welfare, Foster VC Kids provides resource families with ongoing support services, trauma-informed training, and mentorship to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of Ventura County’s youth and families. Learn how Foster VC Kids is making a difference throughout Ventura County, www.fostervckids.org. ###

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